Only candidates who fulfill the following criteria are eligible to apply for an LWF scholarship:
- Church affiliation of the candidate: Only applications from active members of LWF member churches are considered. No applications submitted by individuals will be considered.
- Nationality of the candidate: Only candidates from developing countries are eligible for scholarships in fields of diakonia/development. The theological scholarships are open to candidates from all regions and countries.
- Age limits: The following age limits are in place, depending on the pursued degree and with certain exceptions, particularly for female applicants*:
||Maximum age at the time of application*
- For candidates who are church employees at the time of application, these age limits may be exceeded upon special request.
- Relatively higher consideration is made for female candidates who exceed the age limits due to social and cultural factors which cause them to pursue studies later.
Two fields for studies
- Theology: Scholarship includes Diploma, Bachelor, Master and PhD programs in theology.
The aim of theological scholarships is to strengthen churches’ theological identity and self-understanding, and through trained and qualified personnel to equip churches to carry out their holistic mission. Scholarships in theology aim at preparing the next generation of leaders in the Lutheran communion.
- Diakonia and development: Scholarship includes Diploma, Bachelor, Master, PhD programs in development-oriented fields of study, such as psychosocial support, counseling, social work, livelihood development, gender studies, food security, environmental management, climate justice, project management, peace and conflict studies, education and health care. Scholarships in diakonia and development aim at strengthening churches’ diaconal work in diverse areas for the sustainable improvement of the livelihoods of local communities in developing countries.
Individual and group scholarships
- Individual scholarship: Only the proposed candidate is supported for a study or training program. The LWF will cover tuition and other fees indicated in the official fee structure of institution and study related costs (food, accommodation, transportation, internet access) according to the need of candidate. Proof of evidence is required for study related costs.
- Group scholarship: A group consisting of 2 up to 10 persons pursues the same field and level of training together for similar or common area of engagement, and at a relatively lower cost. (For instance, a group of 5 candidates from one church pursues a Bachelor’s degree in psychosocial support in order to help communities where people have experienced devastating crises).
A group scholarship is considered as one scholarship. The LWF will cover tuition and other fees indicated in the official fee structure of the institution and study related costs (food, accommodation, transportation, internet access) according to the needs of the candidates. Proof of evidence is required for study related costs.
Regular and short-term scholarships
Depending on the duration of studies, individual and group scholarships fall into two categories:
- Regular scholarship: A candidate is approved for at least 1 year and a maximum of 4 years of support to take up or complete his/her proposed study program (Diploma, Bachelor, Master, PhD). For any candidate who has already started his/her study program, this means that the study program must last for at least 1.5 years at the time of application, hence 1 year at the time of approval. Although scholarships may be granted for up to 4 years, they will still be re-evaluated at the end of every study year.
- Short-term scholarship: A candidate is approved for a short-term training which may last up to 1 year. Short-term scholarships capacitate church workers in existing ministries and leadership with specific skills. The aim of short-term scholarships is to augment the immediate application of one’s capacity for the daily work of the church/church related institutions, and to strengthen and deepen expertise in related areas. Scholarship may include a training course, workshop, seminary, online studies or research project (not a bachelor’s or master’s degree program). Areas of studies in short-term scholarships are more diverse while always corresponding well to the needs of the applying churches. Areas of studies can include courses in leadership and organizational development, project management, gender awareness or advocacy training, etc. Short-term scholarships should be applied to local institutions, training centers and online courses from recognized institutions. Application forms and selection criteria are the same in both categories.
All applications must be endorsed by the church (head office) of the candidate. The official Church endorsement letter has to be uploaded onto the review form of the LWF online application (see the procedure below). In the letter, the requesting church must demonstrate convincingly how a given application responds to strategic priorities and human resource needs of the church in the area of theology and/or diakonia and how the particular scholarship will benefit the church and the local communities. The church must show a clear commitment to engage the candidate as an employee or volunteer in an area related to the proposed training the candidate completes studies/training. Therefore, a description of the planned future role beyond very general terms is required.
Each candidate is responsible for filling out the online application form and submitting the application with the required documents (see the procedure below). The LWF will provide a Step-by-Step Guidance” to help candidates go through each application phase.
Procedure of the LWF scholarships application and approval process
- August | Kick-off of the application phase. The information about the new application phase including updated application documents are sent to all LWF member churches and LWF national committees, and are shared across the LWF networks and channels. All church leaders are requested to share the information widely within their churches and wider communities, including the grassroots level.
At this point the LWF Scholarship portal link is only shared with member churches (church leadership) and should not be shared widely.
- August-October | Pre-screening processes in the churches. Each church or LWF national committee is expected to do a pre-screening of all individual and group applications through its internal committee or board. At the end of this process, each church selects up to 7 candidates (5 for regular and 2 for short-term scholarships) and shares the LWF Scholarship portal link with them.
- August-October | Submission of applications. The candidates will fill out the LWF online application form and submit the application with the required documents.
- September-October | Request to endorsing churches to review the application. After LWF has received the submitted application, the request is sent to the endorsing church for review using the LWF Scholarship portal. The official church endorsement letter must be uploaded to the review form. committees of the decisions taken by the LWF Scholarship Committee. Each church is responsible for informing the individual candidates about the outcome of their application.
- 15 October | Deadline for applications.
- October-November | Geneva screening process. LWF Geneva reviews, pre-screens and short-lists applications.
- December | Approval. The candidates are presented to the LWF Scholarship Committee for approval. The Committee consists of LWF staff from different departments and staff from related agencies that support the scholarships program. The Committee takes the final decision on candidates to be approved.
- January (of the following year) | Information. The LWF informs the churches and LWF national committees of the decisions taken by the LWF Scholarship Committee. Each church is responsible for informing the individual candidates about the outcome of their application.
- January-December (of the following year) | Scholarship implementation. Implementation of approved scholarships must start within one year. For candidates who are already in training, the scholarship will be activated for the following semester. No financial assistance can be paid retroactively for previous academic years or semesters. Each church or national committee is responsible for effective reporting, communication and follow-up with its approved candidates and LWF Geneva.
The LWF will accompany scholarship holders throughout the scholarship period. Regular “Coming Together” online meetings will be conducted 4 times per year. The purpose of these online meetings is to strengthen the connection between the LWF Communion Office and the scholarship students and to create networking and peer support platforms for students themselves.
The scholarship holders in the area of diakonia and development are invited to at least one diaconal workshop conducted in their region during their scholarship period.
The scholarship holders in the area of theology are expected to take part into the LWF leadership development program.